POSTED: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 5:20pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 - 12:19pm
DONALDSONVILLE, LA — An accidental discovery by an Ascension Parish Sheriff's Deputy in Donaldsonville has lead deputies to the arrest of a couple believed to be running a dog fighting ring.
"We have two people that were clearly allowing this to go on. One of them, Mr. Duncan, is the one that we think is the ring leader of the dog fighting," Jeff Wiley, Ascension Parish Sheriff, said.
24 year-old Brittany Ward currently sits, at eight months pregnant, in the Donaldsonville jail alongside her boyfriend, 28 year-old Joseph Duncan. Duncan was only arrested Tuesday afternoon, after eluding deputies for more than 24 hours. Both Ward and Duncan are facing charges of dog fighting and cruelty to animals.
Ward's mother maintains that her daughter had nothing to do with the alleged dog fighting in her backyard.
“Oh yes, most definitely he did, oh yes, but right about now he's on the run," Valarie Bennett, mother to Brittany Ward, explained when asked if her daughter’s boyfriend had a dog fighting ring.
It’s not the first time Joseph Duncan has been wrapped up in the dog fighting world, sheriff Wiley said Duncan's been arrested and convicted of dog fighting before. Bennett said her daughter didn't have anything to do with the animal cruelty in her backyard, in fact she said she's an animal lover.
“She loved animals, we always did keep a dog around. She loved animals. We don't believe in fighting dogs,” said Bennett.
Wiley said Ward's complacency in itself though is a crime.
“All she had to do was look out her back door and see this. She really is not going to be in a good position to say she was unaware and uninvolved,” said Wiley.
If she had looked outside her window she may have found what deputies say they found when they arrived at the house on 6th street in Donaldsonville, several dogs without access to water or food. and one dog dead, with duct tape around his muzzle.
“ It's nauseating. It would make anybody angry, it would make anybody sick to their stomach,” said Wiley.
The sheriff said the four dogs that were seized from the home will most likely be put to sleep. There is one puppy that could be ‘salvageable’, according to Sheriff Wiley.